Fast Facts for the
May 8, 2003 Oklahoma City Area Tornadoes
Resource: NWS Norman storm data report for May 2003
Resource: SPC Data Archive for Severe Weather Event of May 8, 2003
Resource: Tornadoes in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Area Since 1890
Resource: The May 2003 Extended Tornado Outbreak by Thomas M. Hamill, Russell S. Schneider, Harold E. Brooks, Gregory S. Forbes, Howard B. Bluestein, Michael Steinberg, Daniel Meléndez, and Randall M. Dole
- The tornado was first reported by a spotter on the west side of I-35 at Hwy. 37 in Moore, near the intersection of Santa Fe Ave. and 149th St. at about 5:10 p.m. It then tracked across I-35 at 12th St., through south Oklahoma City, across I-240 at Sooner Road, across Tinker Air Force Base, across I-40 into SE Midwest City, and into Choctaw.
- Approximately 21-minute lead time for Moore in Cleveland County and approximately 30 minute lead time for Oklahoma County.
- The tornado event was forecast several days in advance.
- For the first time ever at the NWS Norman office, a live weather briefing was given at 2:30 pm CDT on 5/8/2003 concerning the developing severe weather situation. This briefing was broadcast through the 10 weather radio stations operated by NWS Norman.
- The first tornado warning of the day was for Grady County at 4:33 p.m.
- The warning issued for the metro area, including Cleveland, McClain and south Oklahoma Counties was issued at 4:49 p.m.
- The NWS Forecast Office issued a regional weather discussion at 4 p.m. that specifically mentioned the risk for severe storms in the Oklahoma City metro area between 4:30 and 6 p.m.
- The NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center issued a tornado watch for south central Kansas and central Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City metro area, at 1:35 p.m.
- Total number tornadoes in central Oklahoma for May 8, 2003 - 3.
- About the time the metro area tornado was dissipating, a new tornado started near Harrah and moved into southern Lincoln County north of Meeker.
- Additional tornadoes occurred in Noble County and Osage County in the NWS Tulsa forecast area.
- While the tornado was on the ground, the NWS Forecast Office provided continuous live coverage of the storm track on NOAA Weather Radio.